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Morning Bell: Several Oklahoma school districts plan Election Day holiday

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Voters in precincts 97 and 98 shared voting booth space inside the Midwest City Community Church of the Nazarene near SE 15 and Post Rd during primary election voting on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Voters in precincts 97 and 98 shared voting booth space inside the Midwest City Community Church of the Nazarene near SE 15 and Post Rd during primary election voting on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Wednesday morning, and happy back-to-school for students and teachers in Oklahoma City. My own son started first grade today at Putnam Heights Elementary. New superintendent Sean McDaniel posted a video message yesterday about his excitement, which included appearances by his wife and son. Some students at an OKCPS elementary school were treated to free back-to-school haircuts

Off for elections: At least seven Oklahoma public school districts, including the state's two largest, have scheduled an off day for Nov. 6 in order to encourage teachers and staff to vote in that day's elections, which include most statewide seats like governor and state superintendent, along with many state House and Senate seats.

Following a two-week teacher walkout in April, many educators said they were turning their attention to the 2018 elections and supporting pro-public education candidates.

Some of those teachers encouraged their districts to move one of its off days to Nov. 6 as a way to support higher voter turnout.

"I was completely for it," said Chelsea Cruse, a government and politics teacher at Woodward High School, which will be off on Nov. 6.

Dolores Huerta.
Dolores Huerta.

Dolores Huerta Elementary School

Christopher Columbus Elementary School in Tulsa is now named after Dolores Huerta, a civil rights icon and activist. It’s the first school in a district that has become increasingly Hispanic to be named for someone with that heritage. The Tulsa World has a really interesting slideshow on Huerta's life and work (along with some great photos). 

“Dolores Huerta didn’t just fight for immigrant Mexicans. She fought for the rights of all workers,” said Dolores Huerta Principal Janice Thoumire, who will be starting her sixth year at the school. “We link her directly to our Hispanic population but it also carries over.”

The Tulsa World has a story on the school here

Also in Tulsa, the Tulsa World is hosting a free forum with the discussion centered on how to be an education advocate.

The panel includes Joy Hofmeister, superintendent of public instruction; Deborah Gist, Tulsa Public Schools superintendent; Shaniqua Ray, 2018 Tulsa Teacher of the Year; Kathy Seibold, Impact Tulsa executive director; and Tristy Fryer, co-chair of the Bixby Parent Legislative Action Committee and administrator of Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education. The moderator is Wayne Greene, Tulsa World editorial pages editor. You can find more info here

Former Claremore teacher charged

Authorities say 24-year-old Mary Bumsted, a former Claremore High School teacher, was charged with sexual battery following the allegations had an inappropriate relationship with a student, reports KFOR.

Related Photos
Voters in precincts 97 and 98 shared voting booth space inside the Midwest City Community Church of the Nazarene near SE 15 and Post Rd during primary election voting on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.  [Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives]

Voters in precincts 97 and 98 shared voting booth space inside the Midwest City Community Church of the Nazarene near SE 15 and Post Rd during primary election voting on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. [Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives]

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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